Kentucky guard CJ Fredrick is not only an excellent and even nice 3-point shooter. “CJ is an elite, elite, elite, elite shooter,” level guard Sahvir Wheeler stated of the 6-foot-4 native of Cincinnati this summer season.
The numbers again that up. Transferring from Iowa final offseason, Fredrick entered the yr because the nation’s main returner in profession 3-point field-goal proportion (46.6%) with a minimal of 150 makes an attempt. His ultimate season with the Hawkeyes in 2020-21, he knocked down 47.4% from three on 2.8 makes an attempt per contest after hitting 46.1% on 4.1 makes an attempt per sport the yr earlier than.
Injuries prevented Fredrick from suiting up for the Wildcats in 2021-22, however expectations are excessive for the 3-point sharpshooter going into the upcoming season.
“It’s a 47 p.c profession 3-point shooter,” Kentucky affiliate head coach Orlando Antigua stated of Fredrick. “Anytime you’ll be able to add that to a group, it is particular. He’s a fantastic teammate, acquired a competitive edge, his IQ, his really feel, he can play a pair completely different positions. He performs with an edge, which additionally brings a little bit one thing additional to the group. You all the time need that.”
Fredrick is coming off hamstring surgical procedure, an damage that saved him out all the season. He additionally battled plantar fasciitis and had a minor clean-up surgical procedure performed on his leg final July.
As a consequence, the Kentucky teaching and medical employees are remaining sufferers. The considered getting Fredrick again on the ground is thrilling, clearly, nevertheless it’s a course of that may’t be rushed.
“You’ve acquired to mood the expectations a little bit bit as a result of CJ is within the strategy of working his approach again to being up to full capability,” stated Antigua. “He’s been doing nice, going reside, body-to-body, competing. We additionally know it is a lengthy street and it is a course of. … It’s one of many issues Coach and the medical employees are going to be bringing him alongside.”
“CJ is beginning to get within the combine much more than he has,” assistant coach Chin Coleman added. “He’s getting previous a variety of these restrictions, you can provide him an excellent bump now.”
Beyond the damage rehab, Fredrick is dedicating his time to altering his physique, working with Kentucky energy and conditioning coach Brady Welsh and head athletics coach Geoff Staton across the clock to rework his look. It’s a night-and-day distinction, one that can enable him to not solely get again on the ground, however keep there.
“You guys have all seen the bodily look and the way a lot he is modified,” stated Antigua. “He’s modified his physique round, been actually devoted. It’s a credit score to the child, credit score to coach (Brady) Welsh, who has labored actually laborious with him by way of vitamin, his physique, strengthening (it). And the work Geoff (Staton) has performed to get him to this level has been particular.”
Fredrick beforehand stated watching from the sidelines this previous season opened his eyes about simply what number of clear seems to be he is going to get from three at Kentucky.
“Plenty of the video games, I used to be sitting subsequent to Riley (Welch), the graduate assistant. We would sit and analytically take a look at the sport a little bit in another way,” Fredrick stated this summer season. “I’m an older man now, so I strive to be taught the sport as many various methods as I can. I used to be simply amazed within the SEC what number of open pictures I’m going to get. Kellan (Grady) had video games the place he’d make six, seven threes, they usually’re nonetheless having to area off of him a little bit bit. That was one thing that lit up my eyes.”
While on-court really feel is clearly completely different than off-court, Antigua believes Fredrick’s capability to get a unique perspective on the sport this previous season will assist him in the long term.
“I feel anytime you’ll be able to detach your self a little bit bit from the sport — your viewpoint is completely different than watching it from the facet, whilst a participant and as a coach,” he stated. “We did a variety of conversing with him final yr, seeing what he noticed, telling him what we noticed. Getting him a unique perspective, it is going to assist him rather a lot. He’s a child who’s high-IQ, high-feel anyway. The psychological reps he was taking all through final yr, what he was doing with remedy, it will assist him.”
What will Fredrick present as soon as he makes his on-court debut for the Wildcats — which might come as early as August when Kentucky heads to the Bahamas?
Shooting, clearly, however Antigua says Fredrick is way more than a shooting specialist.
“Obviously, his shooting capability requires a variety of consideration defensively. He areas the courtroom an terrible lot,” he stated. “But he is greater than one-dimensional, he isn’t only a shooter. He’s acquired nice really feel, he passes the ball, is aware of how to use that weapon to assist himself and his teammates.”